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This Week In Climate (In)Action

THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE (IN)ACTION – DECEMBER 6, 2019

Dec 6, 2019

Your weekly resource to learn what the environmental movement is saying about the news of the day and the political fight of our generation. Be sure to follow LCV on Facebook and Twitter.

 

QUOTES OF THE WEEK:

“As indigenous people, our identity is interconnected to the land, to the water and to the animals. And our identity is not up for negotiation — it’s not for sale.

— Gwich’in Nation activist Bernadette Demientieff in NPR article by Avery Ellfeldt

The weird thing is that the only people who aren’t responding are the government. Everyone else is going, ‘Yeah!’ and Trump is going, ‘Climate change is a hoax.’”

— The Beatles’ Paul McCartney in Vice article

Ultimately somebody is going to have to pay the price for these impacts and at the moment that price is being paid by the poorest communities in the world.

— Oxfam’s head of policy on climate and food justice, Tim Gore, on the climate crisis in CNN article 

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LCV IN THE NEWS:

New York Times: Jane Fonda: The Climate Emergency Is a Political Emergency 

NBC News: Leading progressive groups endorse Rep. Henry Cuellar primary challenger

Axios: Poll: Battleground states support clean energy tax credits

Utility Dive: In a first, natural gas group supports carbon pricing even if members ‘don’t get off scot-free’

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY: 

LCV’s affiliates are hard at work protecting the environment and fighting climate change in the states. Here’s what people are reading across the country:

Las Vegas Sun (NV): Advocates push to keep climate change atop minds of Nevada voters, presidential candidates

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CLIMATE ON THE TRAIL: Check out this week’s roundup of climate in the Democratic presidential primary. The climate crisis is a “hot topic” for Wisconsin voters discussing their most important issues. Over in New Hampshire, NHPR wrote an article comparing the climate change proposals of the 2020 candidates. Don’t forget to also check out this weekend read, Climate emergency: world ‘may have crossed tipping points’ by Damian Carrington of The Guardian, another reminder of why climate needs to remain a top issue in the primaries.

LCV TAKES NYC: On Tuesday, December 10th, the LCV will host its annual New York Dinner, this year honoring Ted Turner with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his leadership and role in expanding the Conservation Voter Movement, LCV’s network of 30 state affiliates. Award-winning actress, activist, producer, author and friend of Ted Jane Fonda will honor Turner. His eldest daughter, environmental activist and LCV Board Member Laura Turner Seydel will accept the award on her father’s behalf. Additionally, Washington State Senator Mona Das and youth climate activist Jerome Foster II will be featured speakers. Email emily_samsel@lcv.org if you are interested in attending.

SPEAKING OF JANE FONDA: Today’s Fire Drill Friday with Jane Fonda focused on the financial institutions that profit off of the climate crisis and immigrant detention. Fonda also linked her #FireDrillFriday with the DC youth climate strike to disrupt the businesses fueling the climate crisis. Climate impacts are harming communities all while banks are financing the fossil fuel industry that has caused this crisis. Fonda came prepared to shake things up and support the communities whose lives are being disrupted by climate change and unethical institutions. 

LCV IS FOND(A) OF JANE: Yes, this is the third paragraph of this week’s tip sheet about the climate hero we didn’t know we needed — the inimitable Jane Fonda. Fonda made the case for electing environmental champions to combat the climate crisis in the New York Times today and gave us a little shoutout: “Through the Change the Climate 2020 program, The League of Conservation Voters is tracking what every candidate is saying about climate change. The League’s Victory Fund is scaling up campaigns in battleground states. I’ve seen the details of their strategy and I’m telling you we can win on climate.” Yes we can, Jane.

#StrikeWithUs: Today, the youth climate strike coalition led young people and adults all across the nation in striking for decisive and immediate climate action. This strike built on the momentum and collective power demonstrated during the September Climate Strike, which was the largest youth-led climate mobilization in U.S. history. These youth are bringing together an intergenerational and intersectional movement that is demanding the change we need to save everyone’s future. 

WORLD WAR ZERO: Former Senator and Secretary of State John Kerry has declared war on the climate crisis. Kerry is leading an all-star cast of lawmakers, celebrities, and advocates to launch an initiative called World War Zero. This initiative aims to elevate climate change among our public priorities, and through a unique set of allies, it intends to reach and activate people who may not currently think that climate change is relevant to their life. The founding members — which include LCV President Gene Karpinski, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Richard Branson, Jimmy Fallon, Cindy McCain, Al Sharpton, and more than 70 other notable names — plan to hold 10 million “climate conversations” in 2020.

DON’T MESS WITH THE TERMINATOR: Former California Governor and member of World War Zero Arnold Schwarzenegger said, “Our fossil fuel addiction is killing us. World War Zero has brought together leaders from different backgrounds with different viewpoints to find the way forward and inspire every citizen to act.”

BATTLEGROUND STATES 💚 TAX EXTENDERS: New polling conducted by Global Strategy Group shows that a supermajority of all voters in battleground states and congressional districts support extending tax credits for renewable power and creating incentives for deploying storage technologies. The House Ways and Means Committee has drafted legislation that would extend the expiring incentives for developing wind, solar and other green energy projects, energy efficiency, and electric vehicles. The legislation would also add a new credit for energy storage and offshore wind. 

OUR TAKE: LCV Legislative Director Matthew Davis said, “This poll demonstrates once again that clean energy is wildly popular with people across the country. These findings should put wind in the sails of congressional leaders to update and extend critical tax incentives for wind, solar, and energy storage this year.”

MIND THE GAP: Last week the U.N. released its 10th Emissions Gap Report, which compares current greenhouse gas emissions to the target emission levels that will ensure we meet the Paris Climate Agreement goals. The results are not good: global emissions are expected to keep climbing, and the U.N. warned that there is “no sign” that emissions will top-out anytime soon, despite promises from almost 200 nations to address climate change. That means more needs to be done, and it needs to be done quickly. The report arrived a day after the World Meteorological Organization revealed record-high concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The good news? The political appetite to address this crisis is growing, worldwide.

PFAS DEAL DISINTEGRATES: After months of negotiating over including critical PFAS cleanup and drinking water standards in the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a potential deal was abruptly abandoned by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith at the urging of House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone. Communities across the country are suffering from the impacts of a dangerous PFAS crisis that only continues to grow, and it is beyond disappointing that Senate Republicans and some Democratic House members let inside-the-Beltway politics block measures to clean up and protect people’s health. While the final bill is said to include some steps forward, by excluding provisions that would have listed PFAS under CERCLA and the Clean Water Act and demanded urgent setting of drinking water standards, this NDAA will fall far short from what was possible and necessary to protect military families and all communities from PFAS pollution. 

DON’T MESS WITH MADAM SPEAKER: Speaker Pelosi and a delegation of 14 environmental champions in Congress represented the U.S. on the world stage this week at the 2019 UN Climate Change Conference, COP25, in Madrid. The most anti-environment president in history was nowhere to be seen while over 25,000 representatives from 200 countries including heads of state, environmental organizations, scientists and many more began meetings to finalize commitments between different nations and reach consensus on a climate change plan. Thank you for your leadership, as always, Speaker Pelosi.

IT’S ABOUT TIME: This week, the House passed H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2019 and took the first step towards restoring the full protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA). This is the first successful attempt by Congress to update the VRA since the 2013 Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which took away provisions that would prevent jurisdictions from discriminating against the voting rights of black, brown, and native communities . 

OUR TAKE: LCV Voting Rights Program Director Justin Kwasa said, “When black, brown and native voices are silenced by racist voter suppression, the communities that are exposed to the highest levels of toxic pollution and bear the brunt of the impacts of climate change are left powerless. Today’s passage of H.R. 4 in the House is a positive step towards a more fair and representative democracy for all, including the vulnerable communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis. We urge the Senate to follow suit and restore the Voting Rights Act because a free, fair and equitable political process is essential to advancing protections that are critical to our health, our environment and future generations.” 

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:

BRIDGING THE GAP (AZ): Chispa Arizona Coalitions and Training Director  Masavi Perea is part of a new initiative to bring climate change talks to a more diverse audience. Often, people of color are left out of these important conversations when they are the ones being directly affected by cataclysmic events and facing the brunt of climate change. In Maryvale, a neighborhood in Phoenix, Perea led a workshop where he broke down the charges on an electricity bill in Spanish, hoping to help engage this Spanish-speaking Latinx community on clean energy issues. Chispa Arizona’s goal is to continue these workshops into the new year and make communities that are often overlooked a part of these conversations moving forward. 

GIRL POWER (ID): On Tuesday, Boise voters went to the polls for a runoff election and chose a new mayor, Lauren McLean, over 16-year incumbent Dave Bieter. McLean had 65.5% to Bieter’s 34.5% of the more than 46,000 votes with all 88 precincts accounted for. Our state affiliate in Idaho, Conservation Voters for Idaho Action Fund, invested over $200,000 in support of McLean, the most they’ve ever invested in a mayoral race. 

CVM TAKE: Conservation Voters for Idaho Executive Director Courtney Washburn said, “We congratulate Lauren McLean on being elected as Boise’s next Mayor. We look forward to working with her to protect clean air and water, on behalf of all Boise residents. As one of the fastest growing cities in Idaho and the 13th-fastest warming city in the nation, Boise was in need of new leadership to help solve some of our most pressing issues. We are confident that Lauren will work to enact bold change to protect Boise’s open space, further clean energy policy, expand public transit, and increase voter participation in local government.”

McLEAN’S REMARKS: Mayor-elect Lauren McLean told Idaho Business Review, “Next year, it’ll be 100 years of the women’s right to vote, the year I’ll be sworn in as the first elected female mayor. I think often about these Girl Scouts that were at City Hall this winter, who walked up to me and asked me why there weren’t more women on the wall of mayors. The question stuck with me, and I’m thinking about them right now.”

MINNESOTA CLIMATE SUBCABINET (MN): Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has announced that he will be assembling a new climate change subcabinet and an advisory council — an initiative that will bring together 15 different state agencies to implement collaborative action on climate change. The state has fallen short on meeting its greenhouse gas reduction goals, and this effort will help significantly reduce emissions, improve community resilience, create good-paying jobs and fuel the clean energy economy. 

CVM TAKE: Conservation Minnesota Executive Director Paul Austin said, “We applaud Governor Walz’s action and goal to improve Minnesota’s response to global climate change.  And we are grateful for his continued support in achieving 100% clean energy by 2050.” 

GOVERNOR WALZ’S TAKE: In an MPRNews article, Governor Walz said, “We must protect Minnesota’s way of life by putting our state at the forefront of finding innovative solutions to climate change. Climate change is no longer a far-off possibility, as Minnesotans across our state are suffering through its devastating effects right now.”

TIMBER RECALL (OR): Timber Unity is a group of timber and forest workers that have on multiple occasions tried to dismantle climate change bills. They announced this week their failed efforts to yet again try and recall the election of Representative Tiffiny Mitchell. This comes after two previous attempts to recall Oregon Governor Kate Brown for policy issues that the political organization did not agree with. Timber Unity’s dismay with Mitchell stems from her vote that would introduce a statewide cap and trade system on timber to reduce carbon emissions.

 

COMING UP:

Through December 13: COP25 continues in Madrid

December 19: Sixth Democratic Debate – Los Angeles, CA

December 20: Government funding deadline for 2020